Déclaration de Dépendence de la Belgique au Zaire


BIWA, Antwerpen

11 December 1988 - 04 August 1992

Declaration of dependence De De. A series of actions by the Belgian Institute for World Affairs

(Jef Lambrecht & Karel Schoetens

Was in essence a media stunt, an artistic intervention in an already complex issue, taking a ride on the storm created by the refusal of Mobutu Sese Seko to pay debts or interest... Incensed by the ill treatment by Belgian politics... Though the government (Martens) attempted to allay the storm, parliament was no longer in a mood to acquiesce... Not so much in general (feeling that the should treat their former colony with some respect) but specifically Mobutu who had become one of the most corrupted potentates in Africa...  Especially the opposition didn't want to let him off the hook... But of course Mobutu was sly enough to turn it into a north-south colonial racial issue, with all the emotions that go with it...


The Belgian Institute of World Affairs looked into the matter and found that indeed, Belgium had been made great through the riches exploited in the Congo, and so it seemed obvious that there was, even to this day, a dependency... Only no-one seemed to want to admit it out loud... So the BIWA took it upon themselves to state the obvious... Through press releases and a performance to make it factual... The Zairian side was not amused... The blatant disrespect as they say it made matters worse... They did not see any humour in the action, and the Belgian side also, was weary of what it might do to the tenuous rapprochement being organised by various friendly nations...

Aside from the performance on the pontoon in the river Scheldt whence two 'declarations' were cooked up, one thrown in the river (?) and the other offered to the Zairian Consulate in Antwerp, where it was refused... There was a referendum held at the the 'inexistent' venue, where various meetings and documentary presentations took place during this period...  The referendum ended in a fifty-fifty draw, so the whole operation might be deemed inconclusive, but it did have some reverberations in the media and in the end the matter was put to rest at Rabat under the auspices of King Hassan II, though one might also say the relations between Belgium and its former colony were never quite the same, and even after the ousting of and later demise of Mobutu, various issues remain... Or remain to be more thoroughly examined....

the end of the 'déclaration de De' was published as being  the fourth of August 1992 - as part of preparations for the 'intercontinental entrepot' at Kassel.

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